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Fiscal Crisis Talks Move to Senate; Chicago Beefs Up Security for Marathon; Arrest Made in Baby Hope's Killing; Tigers Nearly Made Fenway History; Calista Gingrich's Books for Children; U.S. Senate Elections in New Jersey; Nominations for CNN Hero 2013

Aired October 13, 2013 - 06:00   ET


ANA CABRERA, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, everyone. I'm Ana Cabrera.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Victor Blackwell. It's 6:00 here. It's NEW DAY SUNDAY.

Now Ana is in from Denver and she points out I'm wearing Broncos colors this morning?

CABRERA: Go, Broncos.

BLACKWELL: No, it's not intentionally. Let me say that. Because had I known we were dressing for football alliances, I'd be in black and purple. Go, Ravens.

CABRERA: OK. Now that that's clear.

BLACKWELL: Yes. Also ahead --

CABRERA: This morning's news.

BLACKWELL: This morning, we've got this story about Prince Harry. Did he pop the question to his girlfriend Cressida? Now British media, they're in a frenzy over this story. We've got new pictures that have emerged of a proposal. Now we've got the picture for you and you will definitely want to hear the story behind the photos.

CABRERA: A lot of people talking about this one.

Also a new book offering an unusual conspiracy theory on the JFK assassination. James Reston, Jr. says Lee Harvey Oswald intended to kill Texas Governor John Connelly, not the president. He'll tell us why he says Oswald had an axe to grind with the governor.

First, Senate leaders, one Democrat, one Republican, are now in the driver's seat. The House GOP hitting a dead end on any deal to reopen government and raise the debt ceiling.

BLACKWELL: Now just three days ago a promising plan was on the table.

As CNN's Shannon Travis tells us House Republicans feel President Obama double crossed them.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) SHANNON TRAVIS, CNN POLITICAL PRODUCER (voice-over): Lawmakers scurrying out of Washington even though there is no deal in place to end the partial government shutdown and avoid a possible default this week.

REP. STEVE SOUTHERLAND (R), FLORIDA: My staff is -- has every plane flight on our schedule. We're ready to come back as soon as there is a vote.

SEN. DAN COATS (R), INDIANA: So many things are changing. All I know is we have a president who doesn't want to negotiate.

TRAVIS: Perhaps a hint of defensiveness with talks between the White House and House Republicans having collapsed and both sides blaming each other. Now all eyes on the Senate and whether Majority Leader Harry Reid and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell can work out a compromise.

SEN. HARRY REID (D), MAJORITY LEADER: The conversations were extremely very cordial, but very preliminary, of course. Nothing conclusive but I hope that our talking is some solace to the American people and to the world.

TRAVIS: But Reid is still sticking firm to key Democratic demands.

REID: They're not doing us a favor by opening the -- reopening the government. They are not doing us a favor by extending the debt ceiling. Those are -- that's part of our jobs.

TRAVIS: Meantime Republicans accused the president of pulling a bait and switch.

REP. JOHN FLEMING (R) LOUISIANA: The president apparently was not negotiating in good faith. All he's really said is whatever you offer, I am not interested in it. He is hoping to cut a deal with the Senate, which would I think be a terrible deal to undermine the House.


BLACKWELL: Shannon Travis joins us live now from Washington.

All right, so you've got all of these factions and feuds. You've got the Senate versus the House. The House versus the president. The Republicans versus the Democrats.

Here's the question. Now that we're talking about the Senate plan, any meetings planned today between Senators Reid and McConnell?

TRAVIS: Yes, well, you would hope with all of those factions as you just mentioned that there will be meetings today but we don't know anything publicly -- that's been publicly announced meeting between those two senators.

Really the bipartisan group of senators trying to work to get this done. We do know that leaders on both sides, in both chambers, are here in Washington, where other members, senators and other House members, have gone out of the city for this quick holiday recess. So the leaders are here in town. We're being told that there's obviously a flurry of phone calls going back and forth. And the Senate, obviously, reconvenes today at 1:00, although don't expect to see a lot of senators there -- Victor.

BLACKWELL: Yes, and I don't know if there's much solace that the American people find in their now talking after 13 days of this shutdown.

TRAVIS: That's right.

BLACKWELL: Shannon Travis in Washington for us. Good to see you. Thank you.

Veterans and other military organizations, they're planning to vent against this shutdown. It will happen on Tuesday. They're going to hold a big protest at the World War II Memorial in Washington. Now if Congress and the president cannot reach a deal and the shutdown drags on, the Department of Veterans Affairs warns it cannot pay veterans or survivor's benefits beginning on November 1st. And that impacts almost four million Americans.

CABRERA: For the first time this month, on a brighter side, the Statue of Liberty re-opens to tourists today. New York state will pick up the tab to operate the statue for at least the next six days. Now that bill comes to about $369,000. But that's far less than New York was losing in tourist dollars.

Meantime, in Arizona sightseers lined up yesterday to get into Grand Canyon National Park. Arizona also paying the federal government more than $650,000 to run the park for about a week.

And tourists can now get up close and personal again with Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln and Roosevelt. South Dakota is teaming up with corporate donors to reopen Mount Rushmore through October 23rd.

BLACKWELL: Six minutes after the hour now. And as far as anybody can tell, the government shutdown is not responsible for a big glitch in the food stamp program. For several hours Saturday electronic payment cards for the food stamps were declined in stores across 17 states. Xerox which is the company that handles the transactions with the government says a computer crash knocked the system offline.

CABRERA: Calls are growing to stop what's being called a migrant crisis off the Italian coast. Take a look at some incredible images and listen to this.

You are hearing people shouting for help after they were tossed into the Mediterranean Sea. This is the second time in as many weeks a boat carrying migrants seeking a better life capsized off the Italian coast. At least 34 people drowned in this latest accidents. This happened on Friday, but we are just getting these images this morning. Patrol boats pulled hundreds of other people to safety.

BLACKWELL: Seven people in India are confirmed death in that monster cyclone that tore off roads, split cars and drove almost a million people from their homes.

CABRERA: And authorities are now just surveying the damage. They're working to relocate those who evacuated ahead of Phailin. It's more people than the population of Austin, Texas, so a huge number of people, huge area affected. Some of these folks will be able to go back home, but others, lives are changed forever.

BLACKWELL: The landfall was sometime yesterday but the storm is still packing winds of almost 70 miles an hour. And mudslides and flooding, they're still a dangerous possibility.

Let's bring in meteorologist Karen Maginnis. She's in the CNN Severe Weather Center.

Karen, so we said that this storm could be catastrophic from the very start. Is it living up to that possibility?

KAREN MAGINNIS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: They are still investigating what is happening along the coastline. Numerous trees downed make it very difficult to travel into this vicinity. But you can see the characteristics of this not looking anywhere as ferocious as it had looked yesterday.

Seven fatalities, we expect that number to go up as it winds its way more tourists in Nepal. Still carrying quite a bit of wind and rain associated with it. We expect that to travel more towards the north. Also some of the forecasters saying as much as a foot of rainfall are still expected.

Now across the United States a big chill for this morning into the northern tier where temperatures mostly into the 30s. We've had frost and freeze advisories out but we've got a very unsettled weather pattern going into the next 24 to 48 hours, including some mountain snowfall into the northwest, but take a look at what's happening in Texas. There's a big ball game taking place in Arlington, Texas, later on today.

But in Austin, some pretty big thunderstorms roaming around. This is the view in Austin right now. Looks like some of the lights have gone out. Yes, it is dark. The rain is occurring there. But if every once in a while when you take a look at this picture from Earth Cam, you see those flashes of lightning. So that's the kind of thing that we're looking at as we head into the afternoon.

So what can we expect as we look into the forecast, well, a couple of inches of rainfall across south central Texas and some areas right along the border with Mexico could see between four and six inches of rainfall. So some localized flooding expected there. Some of these high temperatures we're looking at for today, they go down a good 10 degrees by the middle of the workweek. That'll be some interesting news for the southeast that has been enduring some way above temperatures for a while now -- Victor, Ana.

BLACKWELL: All right. Karen Maginnis in the CNN Severe Weather Center, thank you very much. We'll check back.

Some big news out of New York. Twenty-two years, NYPD, police there, they sought the killer of a defenseless 4-year-old girl.

CABRERA: And they're calling this justice this morning. She was known only as Baby Hope after her little body was discovered in a cooler back in 1991. But now police say they finally know her real name and who killed her.

Here's CNN's Margaret Conley.


MARGARET CONLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It was a break that caught an alleged killer and revealed Baby Hope's real name.

COMMISSIONER RAY KELLY, NEW YORK POLICE: Detectives from the Bronx Violent Felony Squad apprehended Conrado Juarez, age 52 from the Bronx. Also known as Anadino (ph) Juarez, in connection with the murder of 4-year-old Anjelica Castillo, a child victim known for the last 22 years as Baby Hope.

CONLEY: Retired detective Jerry Giorgio had heard from colleagues they were close to solving the case.

JERRY GIORGIO, RETIRED DETECTIVE, NYPD: When I got the phone call, I got the news, I was elated. Just -- I was up on cloud nine.

CONLEY: He was the lead detective in 1991. The decomposed body of a 4-year-old girl was found stuffed in this cooler, discarded by a highway. Her body was folded in half and bound. She had been sexually abused. No one ever claimed the body. Days turned to months turned to years.

By 1993, the 34th Precinct Squad had given the little girl the name Baby Hope and a face recreated by computer rendering. The squad also paid for her funeral.

GIORGIO: There wasn't a dry eye in the bunch including me. And the church was full. About 500 people in the church. She truly became a member of the community.

CONLEY: Anniversaries passed but police persisted and finally a break. Police recently got a call on their hotline. The caller said she'd been told several years ago by a young woman that her parents had killed her sister. That tip and advances in DNA testing led the cold case detectives to find the mother of Baby Hope and eventually arrest a cousin who police say murdered her.

At her funeral, over two decades ago, Assistant Chief Joe Reznik delivered her eulogy.

ASST. CHIEF JOE REZNICK, NEW YORK POLICE: The justice is going to be when some judge lowers his gavel and says you're going to jail for the rest of your life.

CONLEY: In this final chapter for these detectives, they'll soon replace this plaque at Baby Hope's grave. And set in stone her name, Anjelica Castillo. Margaret Conley, CNN, New York.


CABRERA: Just an incredible ending to that story to think that decades have gone by and these detectives never gave up in their case.

BLACKWELL: Yes. And you know, I think her name, the -- the name they gave her, Baby Hope, hopefully this offers some hope to the families around the country who are still waiting for some resolution to their missing child cases.

CABRERA: Yes. The answer is --

BLACKWELL: There are so many out there.


BLACKWELL: So good for that family.

Still to come on NEW DAY, almost six months after the Boston attacks, organizers on today's Chicago marathon, they're not taking any chances with security.

CABRERA: Plus that 9-year-old boy who hopped a flight to Vegas, well, he's gone back to the friendly skies. Where his latest flight landed him.


CABRERA: Good morning, Chicago. You have sunny skies, temperatures in the 50s expected today, pretty good running weather for those 45,000 or so runners who are finding to lace up and stretch out. Ready to run this morning.

We're just a couple of hours away now from the start of the Chicago marathon. It's the first major big city marathon since the bombings in April at Boston's famous 26.2-mile race, and in the way of that tragedy, organizers in Chicago are stepping up security this year.

Take a look.


CABRERA (voice-over): Forty-five thousand marathon runners will take to the streets of Chicago this morning. Under intense security for them and more than the a million expected spectators.

GARRY MCCARTHY, CHICAGO POLICE SUPERINTENDENT: We're going to have eyes on the ground on just about every foot of the marathon route.

CABRERA: In reaction to the deadly Boston bombing six months ago, no large bags or backpacks will be allowed. Instead runners will get one of these clear plastic bags to hold items when they check in and unlike past years runners cannot leave unattended bags anywhere along the route. Spectators will not be allowed to join a runner on the course as it winds through 29 Chicago neighborhoods. And for the first time only registered runners and ticket holders will be allowed at the start and finish lines.

CAREY PINKOWSKI, RACE DIRECTOR, CHICAGO MARATHON: The cornerstone and the foundation of what we do with this event is built on the participant, spectator, participant safety.

CABRERA: And even though there's no known threats right now, explosive detection teams will be out along the entire course, including bomb-sniffing dogs. Undercover officers will also be in the crowd and video surveillance will be used. But despite all these precautions organizers say nothing should detract from the runners' experience.


CABRERA: Now the first wave of runners expect to start at the starting line 8:30, this morning, Eastern Time. Just a little more than two hours right now -- from now. So good luck to all those on the course, stay safe.

BLACKWELL: And you've run this?

CABRERA: I have. Yes. It's such a fun marathon. If this is your first time, and you're watching us this morning, you're going to love it. Lots of energy out there on the course. And hopefully again those security measures don't detract from the spirit of the folks who are running.

BLACKWELL: Yes. I have never run a marathon but I have walked about half a mile to Garrett's Popcorn.

CABRERA: That's a start. You have to --

BLACKWELL: That's actually --

CABRERA: You have to start somewhere.

BLACKWELL: You have to start somewhere and it was worth it at the end.

All right. U.S. markets, they close tomorrow for Columbus Day holiday, which buys Washington a bit of time to make a deal before the debt ceiling deadline.

CABRERA: But don't let the shortened trading week full you. There is still a lot going on and Alison Kosik is here now with a look at what's coming up on at Wall Street this week.


Wall Street will continue to keep a close eye on Washington, especially as the clock ticks closer to the Thursday debt ceiling deadline. Without a deal to raise the country's legal borrowing limit, the government will not be able to pay its bills and risk defaulting. That's never happened before. And analysts say it will lead to a possible recession.

It's a big week for big banks. Major financial companies clock in with their quarterly earnings including Citigroup, Bank of America, and Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley. Analysts have cut expectations for many of the banks blaming weak trading revenue and loan growth.

Tech giant Yahoo, eBay and Google will post results as well, along with Dow members General Electric and Coca-Cola. (INAUDIBLE) expects third quarter earnings overall to show a growth rate of just 3 percent. That's less than half what the firm expected at the beginning quarter.

And finally Microsoft Windows 8.1 makes its debut on Friday. It's the first major update to the company's latest operating system and is free for existing users.

Ana, Victor, that's a look ahead at what's coming up on Wall Street.

BLACKWELL: All right, Alison Kosik, thank you very much.

The 9-year-old boy who sneaked aboard a flight to Las Vegas is back in his hometown in Minneapolis. That's according to a family spokesperson. Now he'd been in a foster home in Nevada since October 3rd. That's when he slipped -- past security and boarded a plane, all without a guardian or a boarding pass. The boy's father has acknowledged that his son has behavioral problems.

CABRERA: Still to come on NEW DAY, frustrated players, deflated fans and nearly four hours of high intense baseball. Highlights from last night's dramatic Tiger-Red Sox playoff game.


BLACKWELL: Twenty-four minutes after the hour. Now the tigers had the kind of night every pitcher dreams of in the playoffs -- I am guessing, because I'm not really the Tigers' fan but --

CABRERA: But if you are a Tigers' fan, this is the kind of night you've dreamed of as well. Five Detroit pitchers combined to give up only one hit to the Red Sox.

And Jared Greenberg has more in this morning's "Bleacher Report."

What a night.

JARED GREENBERG, BLEACHER REPORT: Well, that begs the question. A 1- 0 playoff baseball game. Is it boring or thrilling?

CABRERA: Thrilling if you're a Detroit Tigers' fan.

GREENBERG: That's the key thing.


BLACKWELL: And is that a long, long boring game?

GREENBERG: Or the most exciting game you've ever watched.


GREENBERG: It was the Tigers shutting down a potent Red Sox offense and nearly making history. Anibal Sanchez was dominant, striking out 12 Boston hitters before giving way to the Detroit bullpen in the seventh. Four Tiger relievers were just as good.

Tigers win it one to nothing taking the first game of the American League Championship series. Detroit pitchers allowed just one hit and combined strikeouts, 17 batters.

National League, the Cardinals are now halfway to the World Series. Twenty-two-year-old rookie, Michael Wacha, the best man in the pro- season, pitched a gem against the Dodgers, striking out eight, while only giving up five hits and walking one. St. Louis knocked off Los Angeles 1-0 to take a commanding 2-0 lead in the series. Game three shifts to L.A. That'll be Monday night.

Huge upset in college football. Four overtimes needed for Penn State against 16th ranked and the unbeaten Michigan. The Wolverines perfect no more. Bill Belton sends Happy Valley into a frenzy. He provides the game winner, 43-44 overtime win for Penn State. The first loss of the season for Michigan.

I think they might still be partying right now.

BLACKWELL: I'm sure they are.

GREENBERG: In state college. That was one of seven top 25 college football teams to lose on Saturday. The new polls are sure to look different when they come out later this afternoon.

CABRERA: Well, the underdogs coming through.

GREENBERG: Big time. This is a Saturday we'll remember around college football once we start talking to the bull in a couple of months.

BLACKWELL: Yes. Looking forward. Jared Greenberg, thank you very much.

CABRERA: Still to come on NEW DAY, is Sarah Palin's star that power enough to sway a Senate election in New Jersey and defeat Democratic nominee Cory Booker?


CABRERA: Bottom of the hour now. Thanks for being here. I'm Ana Cabrera.

BLACKWELL: I am Victor Blackwell. Here are five things you need to know for your NEW DAY.

Up first, Senate leaders Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell have taken over negotiations to reopen the government and raise the debt ceiling, because House Republicans say President Obama rejected their offer. They left town for the weekend without presenting an alternative plan.

CABRERA: Number two, officials in India are working to relocate almost 900,000 evacuees, almost a million people fled that monster cyclone that has now left at least seven people dead. Phailin is still packing winds of almost 70 miles an hour, mudslides and flooding continue to be a concern. So far damage appears to be minimal compared with that 1999 cyclone that claimed some 10,000 lives.

BLACKWELL: Three now, former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords will attend a gun show in upstate New York today. So, first since she was shot in 2011. Giffords is campaigning for a federal law requiring background checks on purchasers at gun shows. She chose New York because gun shows in the state already conduct volunteer background checks.

CABRERA: Number four, a shooting in Tulsa, Oklahoma, last night injured five people. One witness describes seeing the bullets fly right through his shirt. One of the victims is expected to lose his lower leg. Now, the alleged shooter and his driver are in custody this morning, but their motive still unknown.

BLACKWELL: And five now for you, all nine teenagers who were reportedly abducted from a ranch for troubled youth are now with their parents. That's according to the lawyer for the New Mexico facility. Authorities say they've confirmed that four boys are in their parents' custody, but an amber alert is still in effect for the others until their location and well-being are confirmed. The incidents started Friday when police went to the ranch to investigate abuse claims and neither the teens nor the director were there. The investigation, of course, is ongoing.

CABRERA: Well, royal wedding bells could be ringing again across the pond. New images of Prince Harry and his gal pal Cressida Bonas help fuel some excitement, but yes, looks can be deceiving. This is actually an ad campaign for a British jeweler.

BLACKWELL: Yeah, this is a good one. I mean it's so good that it fooled quite a few Americans. Now, the Brits knew it, but, you know, the Americans, we thought, OK. But Cressida is Prince Harry's girlfriend, but who is she and could she be the next princess. Nadia Bilchik joins us now. Aren't they calling woman Cressida like they old Toyota?


BLACKWELL: It's Cressida?

BILCHIK: Otherwise known as Cressie ..


BILCHIK: Her really good friends, Victor, call her Cress.

BLACKWELL: Cress, OK, you've got to be a really good friend to get the one syllable.

(LAUGHTER) BLACKWELL: So, tell us about her.

BILCHIK: Well, Cress is a 24-year-old graduate from a prestigious British school, now she unlike Kate who was a commoner, comes from a very aristocratic family. Dating back to George VII. And her mother, Lady Mary Gaye Curzon, is the daughter of an earl and heir to the Curzon banking fortune, and her father, Jeffrey Curzon is actually the third of her husbands' four marriages, so say that again. He is the third husband of four marriages.




BILCHIK: And he is an Oxford graduate and entrepreneur.

BLACKWELL: So, I guess, the appropriate bloodline for a royal marriage?

BILCHIK: She certainly has it. Now, she is best friends with Eugenie, who is Harry's cousin, and just a fun fact, her step sister just married Richard Branson's son. By the way, in South Africa.

BLACKWELL: Is Eugenie the one who had the hat at the wedding that looked like it was --

BILCHIK: Eugenie. Yes. She was wearing a Vivienne Westwood hat. And on next subject, another one of Cressie's sisters works for the Vivienne Westwood --


BILCHIK: The hat designer. But --

CABRERA: Everybody is going --

BLACKWELL: Yeah, develop --

BILCHIK: A very aristocratic family. But she is very unlike Kate. In fact, she has been called the anti-Kate, because they say she is as comfortable in at a pub as in a palace.

CABRERA: Just a little more casual --

BILCHIK : A little more casual and she likes wearing sneakers instead of the L.K. Bennets that Kate wears, and one of the things, her fashion tastes extends to wearing scrunchies --



CABRERA: Look at the '80s.

BILCHIK: She's going to bring scrunchies back into fashion.

BLACKWELL: I don't know if she can do all that.

BILCHIK: But people say she is very funny, she is very sweet, and maybe the next Duchess of Cambridge, which is, by the way, that ad campaign that you showed --


BILCHIK: -- was for the duchess diamond collection from Mayfair jewelers, so they found a Harry look-alike and a Cressida Bonas look alike, and they were so real that as you said, some British bloggers thought it was the real deal.

CABRERA: Yet, now, how serious are Harry and Cressida? I mean are they? Maybe they're going to get married.

BILCHIK: When it sounds like they are a good match. We don't know, but we do know that Cressiemania - they are calling it, is really flooding Britain and people are becoming quite obsessed and let's put up this way, her life is changed forever, and there going to be a lot more British babies called Cressida in the next while, and we'll be hearing a lot more about Cressomania.

BLACKWELL: Oh Cress, as her close friends calling her.

BILCHIK: Or Cress. Exactly.

BLACKWELL: Nadia Bilchik, thank you very much. We will be right back. Quick break. Take a look at the week ahead coming up.


BLACKWELL: Happy Sunday. Let's get you up to speed on what is coming up this week. Monday, Columbus Day, but also day 14 of the shutdown. People on Capitol Hill, though, return to talk more about ending the shutdown and finding a solution to that debt ceiling. And then coming up on Tuesday, this is a really special moment: it's to celebrate a true American hero. President Obama will present the Medal of Honor to Retired Army Captain William Swenson, who's 34 years old, and he risked his life to save fellow troops during an ambush in Afghanistan.

All right, so on Wednesday you've got that special election in New Jersey to fill the open Senate seat there, Democratic New York Mayor Cory Booker currently has a double digit lead over Republican candidate Steve Lonegan.

So, Thursday, also, we've got that debt ceiling October 17, the date we've been watching for some time. And the day everybody is talking about. But the government may have a little extra time to pay off the bills because according to estimates by the Congressional Budget Office and the bipartisan policy center, the true cash crunch will come sometime between the 22nd of October and November 1st. And then to round out the week on Thursday, those - these auction of historical items that once belonged to Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Junior. Its items in the collection include handwritten notes, even a cage from his "I Have a Dream Speech." So we'll see how much those go for. Big week ahead.

CABRERA: A lot going on. And still to come, today on this "NEW DAY," is Sarah Palin's star power enough to swear Senate election in New Jersey and defeat Democratic nominee Cory Booker? That story straight ahead, stay with us.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mission control, we are at four percent of oxygen and dropping, please advise?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mission control is not here right now, but can I take a message?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What do you mean they are not here?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, this is awkward, but the government has shut down.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It turns out, I am the only essential employee in the place.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But I could have told you that months ago, ha ha.



BLACKWELL: Now, that is funny. But really, what it showed you, put this up, if we can guys, that NASA has this screen up when you try to go to NASA TV, "Due to the lapse in the government funding, NASA television will be unavailable, on and on and on. A lot of the employees there at NASA including whomever runs this, considered nonessential.

CABRERA: Well, so many government organizations are shut down, very few people staffing organizations like NASA from to the CDC --


CABRERA: To the NIH, I mean there's - just you name it. So, I mean making light of what is actually a serious situation --

BLACKWELL: Yeah. And at some point --

CABRERA: -- what can you do but laugh, right? What can you do? BLACKWELL: Day 13, and we will see if some solution is coming at least at the start of the week. Hey, if you have kids, maybe you know Ellis the Elephant.

CABRERA: And he's a traveling - kind of time traveling main character in the series of children's books that are written by former House Speaker Newt Gingrich's wife Calista.

BLACKWELL: And we had a chance to sit down with Calista Gingrich as she told us about her latest project.

CALISTA GINGRICH, AUTHOR "YANKEE DOODLE DANDY": Well, in "Yankee Doodle Dandy," my time traveling (inaudible) Ellis the Elephant discovers the American Revolution and how we became a free and independent nation.


CABRERA: What made you write the book?

CALISTA GINGRICH: Well, I write these books, because I love America, and I believe America is an exceptional nation. And I think it's more important now than ever that our children understand what makes us so special.

BLACKWELL: And you know, not just the children, because I'd imagine that there are some parents who are reading to the kids who are learning, too.

CALISTA GINGRICH: That's right. It's a good refresher.


CABRERA: The history lesson, isn't it?


CABRERA: Of course. Ellis is an elephant. Well, I have to go wondering, why did you pick an elephant? And then Piers Morgan, he ended up having this conversation with - and he pointed out this comment.


PIERS MORGAN, CNN ANCHOR: If you could be any animal, which one would you be?


MORGAN: Yeah. You love animals. That's why we are here.

NEWT GINGRICH: I'll probably an elephant.

MORGAN: An elephant?


NEWT GINGRICH: They have 105,000 muscles in their trunk.

MORGAN: Really?


MORGAN: It's unbelievable!

NEWT GINGRICH: It is unbelievable. It's cool.

MORGAN: You want 105,000 muscles in your trunk?

NEWT GINGRICH: And they are big.


NEWT GINGRICH: And they last a long time, they live a long time, and they are smart. Very social animals. And also, look - very few things can attack them.



CABRERA: Newt said he would be an elephant if he could be any animal. Was Ellis based on your husband?

CALISTA GINGRICH: Well, not really.



BLACKWELL: All that said, no, not actually.

CALISTA GINGRICH: I knew I needed an interesting character to capture the attention of young children, and I considered many animals including bunnies and hippos and giraffes, but in the end I could not resist this adorable little elephant, Ellis the Elephant who was brought to life beautifully by my illustrator Susan Arciero.

BLACKWELL: Is it difficult to get kids involved and interested in history? I would imagine that that probably is one of the most difficult things to get kids really excited about, considering all the video games and all the options they have?

CALISTA GINGRICH: Well, my experience with children in classrooms and libraries is that they are eager to learn, so, as adults, we owe it to them to give them the tools they need at an early age so they can begin to appreciate the greatness of this country.


CABRERA: Victor mentioned, a couple of other books in this series, is there any more coming?

CALISTA GINGRICH: Yes, there are a few more coming. My next book will be called "From Sea to Shining Sea," and this will cover the period from the earlier stages of the Republic through the great expedition of Lewis and Clark.

BLACKWELL: What's been reaction to Ellis and his adventures?

CALISTA GINGRICH: Ellis has had a really good reaction, both in schools and libraries. And I am very excited. This project is a project of patriotism. This book is about our nation's humble beginnings. And I'm just hoping that many American families will see these series as a celebration of our patriotism and of our nation.

BLACKWELL: All right, Calista Gingrich, thank you very much.


BLACKWELL: And thank you for bringing "Yankee Doodle Dandy," the third in the series. Ellis the elephant is back.

CABRERA: Well, it's about ten minutes now before 7:00 out here in the east. You might know the name, Cory Booker, but what about Steve Lonegan. Well, in just three days now, New Jersey decides which of these two men will serve as their next senator.

BLACKWELL: Now, Booker has the national name recognition, the money and the double digit lead in the polls, but there is one wildcard he doesn't have, and you know what that is? Sarah Palin's support.

CABRERA: And with the clock ticking on the Garden State special elections, Lonegan calls up the former Republican vice presidential candidate for some help. CNN's Jason Carroll has the story.


JASON CARROLL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: What does a candidate do if you are down in the polls days from the election, and your opponent is a political celebrity?

SARAH PALIN: Thank you, New Jersey!


CARROLL: The answer, bring in your own celebrity.

PALIN: Can the rest of America count on you to send Steve Lonegan to the United States Senate!

CARROLL: That's exactly what New Jersey's Republican Senate candidate, Steve Lonegan did.

A former mayor of Bogota is facing an uphill battle against the man well known on the national stage, New York's Mayor Cory Booker.

PALIN: Don't be measuring the drapes there just quite yet. CARROLL: Palin and Lonegan paint the race as the national referendum on the president's policies, including Obamacare.

STEVE LONEGAN: And we go to Washington October 17th, it's going to be Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid that are going to fold.

ANNOUNCER: Cory booker, radical, liberal, extreme.

CARROLL: Thanks in part to Lonegan's aggressive ad campaign, Booker's double digit lead, 28 points in August, dipped to 12 points according to a poll released last week, not surprising to some voters here.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And I believe that there are a lot of people in the state that have conservative values, they just don't know it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I am a Republican, but I think Lonegan is a little bit too far to the right.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He really is very much a movement conservative, I think that makes his uphill battle that much steeper because of the identification as the Tea Party conservative.

CARROLL: Lonegan is anti-abortion and anti-gay marriage. But his and his campaign's views on Mayor Booker seem to be getting all the attention. Lonegan fired one of his top advisors Friday after that advisor gave a profanity-laced interview ridiculing Mayor Booker for having a Twitter exchange with the stripper, saying, "I don't know, it's like what a gay guy would say to a stripper."

LONEGAN: I have hundreds of activists, volunteers, donors, people on this campaign, and I can't be responsible for what all of them say, but I will take it responsibly, so I terminated the gentleman for his inappropriate comment.

CARROLL: Lonegan has been criticized for his own comments about Booker, this is after Booker addressed questions about whether he was gay, saying, so what does it matter if I am? Lonegan weighed in during an August radio interview.

LONEGAN: You know, it's kind of weird, as a guy, I personally like the inner guy --

CARROLL: And then there was the comment Lonegan made during last week's debate about where taxpayers' money from the suburbs and rural areas goes.

LONEGAN: All that income taxes, tax money gets poured into the big black hole of Newark.

But the liberal media is going to say what they want to say. Newark - Newark's budget is a big black hole, and it sucks in millions and billions of suburban taxpayer dollars and we never see it again. Period.

CARROLL: The last time Sarah Palin appeared at a Tea Party express rally was more than a year ago, whether or not she has any influence this time will be determined when voters head to the polls in New Jersey this Wednesday. Jason Carroll, CNN, New York.


CABRERA: And Jason Carroll, thank you for that. Now, from New Jersey to D.C., Palin will also be speaking at today's Million Vet March, that's at the national World War II Memorial. Activists and veterans and the nation's service members will all be speaking out against the government shutdown. Events and protests kick off in about two and a half hours.

BLACKWELL: House Republicans, they just threw up their hands and went home. Now the business of reopening the government is in the hands of two senators. A live update at the top of the hour.


BLACKWELL: Every week we honor a new CNN hero who's doing great work around the globe, not for fame, not for recognition, but just to help people. We get thousands, literally thousands of nominations from our viewers every year from all around the world, and every fall ten are chosen to be our top heroes. CNN's Anderson Cooper introduces us to this year's honorees.


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: I am Anderson Cooper. All year we've been introducing you to everyday people who are changing the world, we call them CNN heroes. Well, now we announce the top ten CNN heroes for 2013. In random order, the honorees are Dale Beatty who lost his legs in Iraq, now he's modified or helped provide homes to more than two dozen disabled veterans.

Dr. Laura Stachel uses the solar power to help healthcare workers deliver babies safely. Danielle Gletow, she's a fairy Godmother for foster children making their often simple wishes come true. Kakenya Ntaiya, opened the first primary school for girls in her Kenyan village. Tawanda Jones' drill team provides discipline and inspiration to children in one of the nation's poorest cities. Chad Pregracke is keeping American rivers clean by removing garbage from waterways across the U.S. Estella Pyfrom poured her savings into a mobile computer lab that serves low income children and adults. Richard Nares lost his son to leukemia, and now he's helping low- income children get to their cancer treatments. Dr. George Bwelle travels into the jungles of Cameron nearly every weekend, bringing free surgeries to those in need. And Robin Emmons provides fresh produce to underserved residents in her community.

Congratulations to the top ten CNN heroes of 2013. Tell us who inspires you the most. Go to to vote once a day every day for the CNN Hero of the Year.


BLACKWELL: Hero gets $50,000 and they also have a chance to become the CNN hero of the year, and that person gets an additional $250,000, it's to continue their work and it's the kind of money that can really help some of these heroes take that work to the next level.

CABRERA: Are you inspired?

BLACKWELL: Indeed. Indeed. I mean those stories are great every year. Looking forward to the show near the end of the year.

CABRERA: OK, it's time - monthly moments now.


CABRERA: A ride in the car can be kind of a scary thing for pets and for Tommy the dog. He is only at ease when his owner holds his paw. The nervous little guy only calming down when the driver clutches his paw to reassure him. Now, the video has gone viral online, lots of animal lovers out there, so you can definitely see why.

BLACKWELL: He is like, hey, you know - hold my hand.

CABRERA: Oh, that is really.

BLACKWELL: Hold my hand.

CABRERA: Man's best friend.

BLACKWELL: Yeah, that is good. I've never had a dog, but this is the kind of video that makes you want to get one.

CABRERA: See, that's why. I know. They are so loyal, so loving.